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Staphylococcal Plasmids, Transposable and Integrative Elements

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  • Authors: Neville Firth1, Slade O. Jensen2, Stephen M. Kwong3, Ronald A. Skurray4, Joshua P. Ramsay5
  • Editors: Vincent A. Fischetti6, Richard P. Novick7, Joseph J. Ferretti8, Daniel A. Portnoy9, Miriam Braunstein10, Julian I. Rood11
    Affiliations: 1: School of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Sydney, New South Wales 2006, Australia; 2: Infectious Diseases and Microbiology, School of Medicine and Antibiotic Resistance and Mobile Elements Group, Ingham Institute, Western Sydney University, Penrith, NSW 2751, Australia; 3: School of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Sydney, New South Wales 2006, Australia; 4: School of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Sydney, New South Wales 2006, Australia; 5: School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences and Curtin Health Innovation Research Institute, Curtin University, Perth, WA 6102, Australia; 6: The Rockefeller University, New York, NY; 7: Skirball Institute for Molecular Medicine, NYU Medical Center, New York, NY; 8: Department of Microbiology & Immunology, University of Oklahoma Health Science Center, Oklahoma City, OK; 9: Department of Molecular and Cellular Microbiology, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA; 10: Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC; 11: Infection and Immunity Program, Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia
  • Source: microbiolspec December 2018 vol. 6 no. 6 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.GPP3-0030-2018
  • Received 30 April 2018 Accepted 12 July 2018 Published 13 December 2018
  • Neville Firth, [email protected]
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  • Abstract:

    Strains of , and to a lesser extent other staphylococcal species, are a significant cause of morbidity and mortality. An important factor in the notoriety of these organisms stems from their frequent resistance to many antimicrobial agents used for chemotherapy. This review catalogues the variety of mobile genetic elements that have been identified in staphylococci, with a primary focus on those associated with the recruitment and spread of antimicrobial resistance genes. These include plasmids, transposable elements such as insertion sequences and transposons, and integrative elements including ICE and SCC elements. In concert, these diverse entities facilitate the intra- and inter-cellular gene mobility that enables horizontal genetic exchange, and have also been found to play additional roles in modulating gene expression and genome rearrangement.

  • Citation: Firth N, Jensen S, Kwong S, Skurray R, Ramsay J. 2018. Staphylococcal Plasmids, Transposable and Integrative Elements. Microbiol Spectrum 6(6):GPP3-0030-2018. doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.GPP3-0030-2018.


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Strains of , and to a lesser extent other staphylococcal species, are a significant cause of morbidity and mortality. An important factor in the notoriety of these organisms stems from their frequent resistance to many antimicrobial agents used for chemotherapy. This review catalogues the variety of mobile genetic elements that have been identified in staphylococci, with a primary focus on those associated with the recruitment and spread of antimicrobial resistance genes. These include plasmids, transposable elements such as insertion sequences and transposons, and integrative elements including ICE and SCC elements. In concert, these diverse entities facilitate the intra- and inter-cellular gene mobility that enables horizontal genetic exchange, and have also been found to play additional roles in modulating gene expression and genome rearrangement.

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Image of FIGURE 1

Maps of representative RCR plasmids: pT181, pC221, pC194, pUB110, pE194, pSN2, and pPV141 ( 25 , 231 ); see text for additional references. Plasmid sizes are shown on the left. Resistance and plasmid maintenance genes/loci are shown: ////, initiation of replication; , double-stranded origin of DNA replication; , single-stranded origin of DNA replication; /// , mobilization; / , origin of DNA transfer; , chloramphenicol resistance. Refer to Tables 1 and 2 for the antimicrobial resistance(s) conferred by other resistance determinants.

Source: microbiolspec December 2018 vol. 6 no. 6 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.GPP3-0030-2018
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Image of FIGURE 2

Maps of representative nonconjugative theta-replicating plasmids: pI258, pSK1, pIB485, pUSA300-HOU-MR, pMW2, pSK639, and pSK818 ( 3 , 25 , 29 , 65 , 85 , 89 , 232 ); see text for additional references. Resistance/enterotoxin genes, transposons, insertion sequences, and cointegrated plasmids are shown: , arsenic resistance; , cadmium resistance; , macrolide resistance; , macrolide/streptogramin B resistance; , antiseptic/disinfectant resistance; , , and , enterotoxins. Refer to Tables 1 and 2 for the antimicrobial resistance(s) conferred by other resistance determinants. Plasmid maintenance genes/loci are also shown: , novel partitioning system; , initiation of replication; , multimer resolution; TA, Fst-like toxin-antitoxin system; /// , mobilization.

Source: microbiolspec December 2018 vol. 6 no. 6 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.GPP3-0030-2018
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Image of FIGURE 3

Maps of representative conjugative theta-replicating plasmids: pSK41, pLW1043, pWBG749, pBRZ01, and pWBG4 ( 27 , 43 , 128 , 136 , 137 ); see text for additional references. Resistance genes, transposons, insertion sequences, and cointegrated plasmids are shown: refer to Tables 1 and 2 for the antimicrobial resistance(s) conferred by the resistance determinants. Plasmid maintenance genes/loci (if known) are also shown: , type I partitioning system; , type II partitioning system; , initiation of replication; , multimer resolution; TA, Fst-like toxin-antitoxin system; // genes, conjugative transfer; / genes, relaxases; , origin of transfer. Note that pLW1043 and pBRZ01 are members of the pSK41 and pWBG749 families, respectively.

Source: microbiolspec December 2018 vol. 6 no. 6 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.GPP3-0030-2018
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Image of FIGURE 4

Genetic organization of Tn, Tn, ICE, and ICE. A comparison of Tn, Tn, ICE, and ICE constructed using EasyFig ( 233 ). Amino acid similarity comparisons (20% lower cutoff) using tblastx and are shown as gray shading between regions on each ICE. Genes with likely common functions—regardless of sequence similarity—are similarly colored. Positions of the conjugative origin of transfer () and single-strand origin of replication () are indicated if known. Recombinase attachment/target sites are indicated by green rectangles. Annotations were collated from previously published figures for each ICE ( 15 , 181 , 197 , 204 , 206 , 234 , 235 ).

Source: microbiolspec December 2018 vol. 6 no. 6 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.GPP3-0030-2018
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Image of FIGURE 5

Maps of representative SCC elements ( 4 , 216 ); see text for additional references. Resistance/virulence genes, transposons, insertion sequences, and cointegrated plasmids are shown: , arsenic resistance; , cadmium resistance; genes, capsular polysaccharide ( 220 ); (previously known as ), fusidic acid resistance ( 236 ); /, β-lactam resistance. Refer to Table 1 for the antimicrobial resistance(s) conferred by other resistance determinants. Cassette recombinase genes (, , and ), / regulatory genes ( and ), and an arginine catabolic mobile element (ACME I [ 227 ]) are also shown; classes and types are denoted by gray shading. Note that genes, , and SAUGI are not shown and that IS is also known as IS.

Source: microbiolspec December 2018 vol. 6 no. 6 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.GPP3-0030-2018
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Insertion sequences and composite transposons

Source: microbiolspec December 2018 vol. 6 no. 6 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.GPP3-0030-2018
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Unit transposons

Source: microbiolspec December 2018 vol. 6 no. 6 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.GPP3-0030-2018

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